We took the ferry over to Victoria, the capital of British Columbia from Vancouver. The city also known as ‘The Garden City‘ was named after Queen Victoria! It is the oldest city in the Pacific Northwest. Victoria, beautiful with hanging baskets of flowers everywhere, darling buildings and a beautiful Pacific coast line. There was a lot of family friendly things to do in Victoria with kids.
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How to get there
While Victoria is a popular cruise stop, you can get there on your own if you are visiting Vancouver or Seattle. We were in Vancouver for the week and took the luxe BC. ferry from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay. We even learnt about ocean life while on the ferry. If you are coming from Seattle – you can take the passenger only ferry from downtown Seattle on the Victoria Clipper.
With its compact downtown, you can easily see most of Victoria without a car. The downtown core and Inner Harbor area are accessible by foot, and destinations such as Oak Bay or Butchart Gardens can be reached by bus, bike or taxi.
Things to do in Victoria with Kids
From April through October, you catch a glimpse of humpback whales, orcas and porpoises on a whale-watching cruise. Older kids will love taking a zodiac boat tour to see these amaazing creatures up close. We opted for aerial view and took a sea plane around Victoria harbor.
You can visit the famed Royal BC Museum which is three floors of history, science and nature that engage all the senses. In the Natural History wing, kids can see a looming, life-size woolly mammoth.
It hard to miss the Fairmont Empress when visiting Victoria. The graceful, opulent interior of Fairmont Empress 1908 hotel perfectly fits the exterior’s grandeur. Walk through the glass ceilinged atrium, and have a delightful tea (we missed out on this since we didn’t plan ahead). Kids would love the Miniature World, located inside the Empress. You suddenly become a Gulliver-like giant among the tiniest of villages.
Walk the beautiful grounds at Buchart gardens throughtthe rose-covered walkways, sunken gardens and 55 acres of greenery.
Visit Victoria Butterfly Gardens an indoor “jungle” that contains hundreds of fluttering butterflies at various stages of the life cycle, flamingos, South African turacos and koi fish.
The high tea at The Blethering Place tea house was one of the best meals we had in Victoria. (Closed Now) The tea service for two was plenty for the four of us with
Mini sandwiches, pastries, cakes, fruits and tea of course. Our first high tea!
Riding the seaplane around Victoria harbor for a scenic birds eye view of the islands and Gulf was an unique experience. We took the panorama tour on the Harbour Air which departs from Victoria’s Inner Harbor. This half-hour trip is an ideal introduction to seaplane aviation and includes spectacular vistas of downtown Victoria and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, with the Olympic Mountains in the distance. We had two little kiddos an a claustrophobic man with motion sickness. Although the ride was a little bumpy Mr.Suburbia endured it and enjoyed the panoramic view while a clutching a sick bag in case he needed it. The splash down back on the water on the harbor brought the squeals from the kiddos.
Here are a few photos from our trip
On the BC ferry to Victoria
Tea at the Blethering Place tea house
You can easily spent the whole day at Buchart Garden – our tummies full from the sandwiches and pastries at high tea, we wandered around the gardens, looking , smelling and photographing the flowers.
Night lights at the Parliament building
Waiting for our Sea plane
British Columbia Parliament building
The Empress Hotel owned by Fairmont in the background, high tea there would amazing! Someday soon!!
We took the ferry back to Vancouver
Have you been to Victoria and the Buchart gardens? You should plan a visit, I have heard it is a cruise stop on the way to Alaska. That is another trip I would want to take the family to someday.